Relish: My Life in the Kitchen

Relish: My Life in the Kitchen by Lucy Knisley is a wonderful graphic novel about her lifelong relationship with cooking. Lucy grew up in a household where food was always central. Her mother ran a catering business, grew her own food, and operated a farmer’s market stall. Due to this constant exposure, Lucy based many of her memories on food. Huevos rancheros reminds her of her adventures in Mexico with her best friend. Croissants remind her of the time she backpacked through Europe with a close college friend. Sushi takes her back to her travels in Japan. Hot chocolate, burgers, and fries remind her of traveling Italy with her father. Baking sweets became her way of working through stressful times in her life. Accompanied by these recorded memories are delicious recipes that are fun to make. After reading this graphic novel, you will gain a new appreciation for the importance different types of food can have on impacting people’s lives.

Genre: Non-fiction graphic novel

Setting: Modern-day Mexico, Italy, Japan, New York, and Chicago.

Number of pages: 173

Themes: Family, friendship, travel, growing up, and cooking.

Is this good for a book club? This would be good for book clubs that enjoy books about food.

Objectionable content? There are discussions of alcohol, periods, and pornographic magazines.

Can children read this? Teenagers would enjoy the stories.

Who would like this? Anyone who loves food.

Rating: Five stars

Tom Colicchio – Chef Extraordinaire, TV Host, and Author

tomTom Colicchio is a well-known American chef.  He co-founded the Gramercy Tavern in New York City and was the executive chef.  He also is the founder of Crafted Hospitality, which includes Craft, Riverpark, Fowler & Wells, Craftbar, Craftsteak, Beachcraft and Heritage Steak restaurants.  He is the recipient of five James Beard Foundation Awards.   I was introduced to him via the Emmy award winning television show on Bravo, Top Chef.  That I would be watching a cooking show is very funny because I don’t, and I can’t, cook.  I can read a recipe, but executing it becomes an inedible, unsightly disaster no matter how hard I try.  You would think I’d get frustrated or bored watching a cooking show, but Mr. Colicchio is the perfect host for this fast-paced competition among a varied collection of American chefs.

Mr. Colicchio has come out with a new cookbook that will appeal to the hearts of sandwich lovers.  It is listed below, along with a few other cookbooks he has had his hand in.  Also listed, a powerful documentary film he produced on hunger in America.

wichwichcraft: craft a sandwich into a meal…and a meal into a sandwich –  Shares the secrets behind the ‘wichcraft restaurant group’s spin on the sandwich, with recipes for their most popular offerings,essays on stocking the sandwich pantry, and an interview with the owners.


eatEat Like A Man: the only cookbook a man will ever need – “So long, dude food. Most men who love food have a roasting pan and a decent spice rack, but they’re still looking for that one book that has all the real food they love to eat and wish they could cook. Esquire food editor Ryan D’Agostino is here to change that with his unapologetically male-centric Eat Like a Man–a choice collection of 75 recipes and food writing for men who like to eat, cook, and read about great food. It’s the Esquire man’s repertoire of perfect recipes, essays on how food figures into the moments that define a man’s life, and all the useful kitchen points every man needs to know. Satisfying, sexy, definitive, and doable, these are recipes for slow Sunday mornings with family, end-of-the-week wind-down dinners with a lady, Saturday night show-off entertaining, poker night feeds, and game-day couch camping. Or, for when a man is just hungry”–

smartSmart Chefs Stay Slim: lessons in eating and living from America’s best chefs – Celebrity chefs including Michelle Bernstein, Eric Ripert, Tom Colicchio, and Giada de Laurentis provide answers to the often-asked question of how they stay so thin and fit when their occupation clearly is based on their love of indulging in food.


tecTen: All the foods we love and ten perfect recipes for each – Identifying thirty-two of our favorite foods, from roast chicken and burgers to mashed potatoes and cakes, a innovative cookbook presents ten variations of each food in a collection of more than three hundred recipes, many contributed by such leading chef s as Jean-Georges Vongerichten, Tom Colicchio, Anthony Bourdain, and others.

placeA Place At The Table (DVD) – 50 Million Americans—1 in 4 children—don’t know where their next meal is coming from. A Place at the Table tells the powerful stories of three such Americans, who maintain their dignity even as they struggle just to eat. In a riveting journey that will change forever how you think about the hungry, A Place at the Table shows how the issue could be solved forever, once the American public decides—as they have in the past—that ending hunger is in the best interests of us all.

Best Cookbooks of 2013


This was the year of the cookbooks!  There were so many great cookbooks, it was hard to pick just a few.  Below are just some of the best of the year.


Pok Pok by Andy Ricker and JJ Goode – Thai

The Tuscan Sun Cookbook by Frances Mayes and Edward Mayes

Gran Cocina Latina: The Food of Latin America by Maricel E. Presilla

Pati’s Mexican Table by Pati Jinich

Banh Mi: Authentic Vietnamese Sandwiches by Jacqueline Pham

The Little Paris Kitchen by Rachel Khoo


100 Grilling Recipes You Can’t Live Withoutby Cheryl and Bill Jamison

Treme: Stories and Recipes from the Heart of New Orleans by Lolis Eric Elie

Gramercy Tavern by Michael Anthony and Dorothy Kalins

Gluten-Free Girl Every Day by Shaunan James Ahern

The Baby & Toddler Cookbook by Karen Ansel

Stealth Health Lunches Kids Love by Tracy Griffith


Four & Twenty Blackbirds Pie Book by Emily & Melissa Elsen

The Sweet Book of Candy Making by Elizabeth LaBau

Bake It Like You Mean It by Gesine Bullock-Prado

Pierre Herme’s Pastries by Pierre Herme

Cupcakes & Parties by Jennifer Shea

Paleo Desserts by Jane Barthelemy

The Unusual:

The Craft Beer Cookbookby Jacquelyn Dodd

Meals In A Jar by Julie Canquille

Beyond Bacon by Stacy Toth & Matthew McCarry

Smoke:  New Firewood Cookingby Tim Byres

Hooch: Simplified Brewing, Winemaking & Infusion At Home by Scott Meyer

Sauces & Shapes by Oretta Zanini De Vita and Maureen B. Fant

The Pioneer Woman Cooks


Ree Drummond

Ree Drummond is an award-winning blogger, New York Times bestselling author, food writer, photographer, and television personality.  She started out her life in Bartlesville, Oklahoma, later attended college in Los Angeles, CA., and now lives outside of Pawhuska, Oklahoma.  She thought after having tasted the big city life in Los Angeles, she’d spend the rest of her life in a big city.  She planned on attending law school in Chicago and was just about to move there when she fell in love with a cattle rancher and ended up right back in Oklahoma.  She lives on a ranch with her husband and four children.  You can read all about her life in her book, BlackHeels to Tractor Wheels which, by the way, is expected to become a movie starring Reese Witherspoon.

As a way to keep in touch with family and friends, she started a blog called ‘The PioneerWoman’.  Little by little she added different topics, but when she added a section on cooking with photographs detailing how to make a dish, the blog took off and her cookbooks became wildly popular.

Her newest cookbook, The Pioneer Woman: A Year of Holidays, was released on October 29, 2013.  It’s a collection of recipes, photos, and homespun humor to help you celebrate all through the year.  There are menus for breakfasts, brunches, lunches, dinners, parties, deliveries, and feasts.  All are accompanied by fun instructions and step-by-step photographs.  It’s a creative and entertaining book to help you plan each holiday.

Her other cookbooks are: The Pioneer Woman Cooks: Recipes from an Accidental Country Girl, and The Pioneer Woman Cooks: Food from My FrontierShe has also written several children’s books based on her bassett hound, Charlie.  Charlie the Ranch Dog, Charlie the Ranch Dog: Charlie’s Snow Day, Charlie the Ranch Dog: Where’s the Bacon, Charlie Goes to Schooland Charlie and the Christmas Kitty.  

Her blog, ‘The Pioneer Woman’, is a lively, entertaining and informative account of her daily life as a ranch wife and mother.  She also has a television show on the ‘Food Network’ called – The Pioneer Woman.

Come to the library to check out all her books!